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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    3,598

    Default observation hives in winter

    well, it's down time, the bees are tucked in, let's talk about something besides that stuff down in tailgater
    I have an observation hive in my basement with 5 medium frames in it
    I loaded a late swarm in it that was small, maybe a thousand bees
    trying to nurse them through winter
    I wish I could build them up a little but the queen has stopped laying
    they're in the house, temps in the 60's
    I gave em pollen
    I gave em some syrup but stopped because I'm afraid they'll get honey bound, they have plenty of food
    how can I encourage the queen to lay
    they are dark bees so I guess they have a reputation for wintering on a small cluster
    any thoughts from those of you with o-hives?
    they are all on one frame and have filled it mostly with food
    should I feed some more thin syrup and let then fill that frame and force the to another
    all the frames are SC
    I think I can get them through our relatively mild winter here but I wish I could build them up some
    just rambling, what do you folks think??

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Default

    Today is solstice. Keep the pollen on them and start 1 to 2 sugar water. That's 1 sugar to 2 water. Very thin. Watch for eggs the week after Xmas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default

    thanks iddee,

    that's kinda what I was thinking
    they have plenty of room, just at the moment they want to stay on that one frame
    I'll give em some syrup and keep posting to the board
    maybe we can play with bees in the winter

    Dave

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Remsen, NY, USA
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Dave,

    Do your "cellar" bees have access to outdoors or do they get to fly around your basement?

    Steve

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,610

    Default

    I'm with the above comments. They might not start brood until later, but they definitely won't start before the solstice.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default

    >> fly around in the basement

    no, that wouldn't go over to well with SWMBO (she who must be obeyed)
    they have a way to get out
    here's some pics

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee%27s/oh/

    I'll try to get off my butt and take some better pictures

    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Vienna,Maine,USA
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Maybe you could lengthen their day with a lightbulb like you do to make chickens keep laying.Its mentioned in Bee Sex Essentials they gave the bees 18 hours of light to get drones a month early.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,272

    Default

    Larry Conner, in BeeSex Essetials, got drone rearing going early by giving the bees artificial lighting for 16 hours a day. I'd suggest setting up an even light source, such as a flourecent grow lite, for 14 to 16 hours a day, on a timer so it's constant. That might get the queen laying for ya.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Vienna,Maine,USA
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Great minds think alike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default

    interesting
    the o-hive is right next to where I have a commercial grow light and some yard plants I'm trying to over-winter
    soon I'll be starting some vegetable seeds there
    at the moment the bees are covered by a blanket so the light doesn't get to them
    should I remove the blanket??
    two years ago this o-hive absconded and I kinda blamed it on them having to much light and since have tried to keep them covered, but maybe this time of year it would be a good thing
    all I have to do is remove the blanket
    what do you folks think??

    Dave

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default

    what kind of grow lite? you don't want anything too hot and bright. I'd try removing the blanket, but then, I am at times over adventurist!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default

    the light is like this

    http://homeharvest.com/hydrofarmcompactfluorescents.htm

    it wouldn't point right at them, just off to the side
    in nature they don't have light inside the hive so I gotta think about this
    ideas welcome

    Dave

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Vienna,Maine,USA
    Posts
    50

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    I would think all it would take is light at the entrance the bees know when its daytime in a normal hive. In the book they had a 60W bulb in an empty deep below the hives with a screened bottom to keep the bees out of the light.This was done in south FL by the way.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    the entrance to the hive is outside and it would be a lot of trouble to rig up a light there
    inside I could just remove the cover
    actually, the cover is just a blanket and really isn't "light proof"
    maybe just giving them syrup will do the trick
    I already did that, added a little leamongrass oil too
    I'll take some pictures and document how they do

    Dave

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Remsen, NY, USA
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    367

    Default

    Dave,

    Love that "SWMBO" acronym. The kids and I have a little acronym we whisper to each other when caution is advised around the house - MOAB - Momma's on a broom!

    On to why I was asking, I had this wacky idea of setting up one of those insect tents in the basement with a hive inside it for the winter months. It might appease the spouse and let me play with the girls during the winter. Afraid I'd cause the bee's more harm than good though!

    Steve

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Steve

    MOAB, I'm sure that goes over well
    if you look here

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee%27s/oh/dsc01232.jpg

    they can go down through the center hole and out through the base to get outside
    I don't think you could get a tent indoors to work, a lot of people rig up a temporary thing to let them get out through a window, do a search on "observation hive" and I think you'll find some pictures

    Dave

  17. #17
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    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default

    I would remove the blanket. The light does not shine directly into the hive, it would be indiredt light, and would most likely stimulate the bees to start the queen laying. What amount of daylight hours are you running that light at this time? I'd say anything 12 to 16 hours would simulate longer daytime light hours for late spring/summer and would stimulate the bees to get the queen on the ball!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    hmm,
    I may try this
    the light is on about 13 hours a day
    it's not on a timer, I just turn it on around 7:00 and off around 8:00 in the evening
    are you making this up or do you have some experience?
    it sounds like a reasonable idea but it would be nice to hear from someone who has done it before
    maybe I'll just pull the blanket back a bit

    Dave

  19. #19
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    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    No, I've not done this particular thing, but I've done others like it. It's nature. Nature is controlled by what it does by daylight hours in a day and by temperatures, among other things. If I was you and wanted to see if I could get my queen to start laying earlier than natural, then this is what I'd try. But I'm not you and I don't have my hives in a position to try this. I would if I could, increase the hours of lite for the hives to get my queens laying as it would give them greater numbers earlier in the season.

    But let me ask you, why do you want to get your queens laying so early in an observation hive? You've said they have stores enough but yet, you are feeding pollen and syrup? Why? If they have stores enough to be healthy, why risk feeding and giving light to make them lay early? Why not just watch and learn from what they do naturally?

    I am starting to change the way I do things myself, and this season coming up will be the biggest changes I make. I'm going to change all the combs, and start having my bees draw out new wax in all combs every year. I'm not pulling off any honey except what is in excess of one full deep, even early in the year. I feel the bees need their honey stores to make it thru the dearth we have in august and september each year. I'm starting to think that sugar syrup is the best alternative to nectar as a supplement, but that it really is not good for the health of the bees. I've come to understand that Pollen is very very important to the health of the bees, and start supplementing the pollen in the fall when they have none coming in and start drawing down their own naturally stored pollen. In Essence, I'm going to try to be less greedy with the honey for myself and let the bees have what they need so that I don't have the need to feed sugar water, let them draw new wax each year to help reduce buildups of unhealthy substances in the wax, and to feed back naturally trapped pollen from the spring back to them in the fall.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

    Default

    My OH is right here in front of me in the living room between the picture window and the main room light which is a six foot halogen floor lamp three foot away. The room light is on every night until at least 2 am and sometimes 4 am and I never cover the hive. So I guess my bees get anywhere from 19 to 22 hours of light every day and they eat the eggs as soon as they are lain.

    Right now I have about 1/2 medium frame of bees with plenty of honey and they show no interest in the pollen patty. Last year this hive got down to a patch of bees about three inches in diameter. I suppose that would be about a hundred bees or less. They did build up to compacting the four medium frame hive and swarmed once but never filled the hive again this year.

    I expect them to do the same thing again this year, but if you ask me, giving your hive more light will not change much if anything. The length of day must be regulated by the amount of time they are able to leave the hive and forage.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

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